Patrick Rhone received an incredible gift for Christmas this past year. A friend gave him the opportunity to take a personal retreat. All he had to do was pick the time and place and everything was taken care of.

And although the act of getting away from everyone, everything, and most importantly, everything online are great on their own, his retreat came with a single room cabin, the wilderness, fresh baked bread, and artisanal cheese. That is some friend!

Patrick shared a few of the entries he made to his diary while on the retreat. Included was a vital question we should all ask ourselves:

Ask yourself, when was the last time your were alone. Not just alone in the sense of not having another person around but alone in the completest sense of having no distractions, obligations, tasks, next steps, “should be doings”, or “have to be doings”? Like me before this, I bet the answer was “never”.

He also lists some of the benefits of this type of aloneness:

One of the interesting things about being out in nature with nothing to do but listen, notice, and ponder, is that one’s attention becomes more acute.


In many ways a solitary journey into the wilderness is, in equal measure, a journey into the wilderness of self. Just as the path into the woods draws us further away from civilization until all one can see in any direction is nature, so too is the truth of our own nature revealed.

I love it. And I would love this type of opportunity myself.

My wife and I have started our own ritual the past two years where we take a weekend off each summer, leave the kids at home, and spend the weekend at a local lake. Although it’s not completely out in the middle of nowhere, silence and solitude are easier to come by. And although we’re together and take the time to reconnect and enjoy long uninterrupted conversations, we also purposefully give each other the space to clear our own heads.

As the years go by, this is becoming a priority in my life. Thanks for sharing, Pat!